Rome Will Destroy Us: Resisting Anti-Judaism in John

Woman at wellA great opportunity for radical disciples as Lent approaches on our calendars. This free webinar starts at 8pmEST on Mon, February 24. Register HERE. It will be led by Rev. Anne Dunlap, Faith Coordinator for Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).

The Lent 2020 lectionary readings from the Gospel of John are challenging for Christians trying to counter anti-Jewish/anti-Semitic interpretations of these stories. The choices seem stark, and the enemies seem clear. What alternative readings could there be that do not perpetuate dangerous interpretations that have been – and continue to be — the excuse for violence against Jews and others? Continue reading

The Yoke’s on Us

UrsulaBy Nichola Torbett

The following is a sermon I preached at Open Door United Methodist Church today. The scripture is Isaiah 58: 1-12.

I was reminded this week of a short story by science fiction writer Ursula LeGuin. The story is called “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” It’s the story of a city called Omelas. Imagine a place where everyone lives happy, peaceful, rich lives, a place filled with music and dancing and cultural expression, where everyone has what they need.

Well, almost everyone. There is one exception. A small one. Very small, in fact.

In a tiny, dark mop closet of a dank, unfinished basement in a single building within this vibrant and beautiful city lives a small child—emaciated, terrified, and alone. She has been in there for years, but you wouldn’t guess how old she is, because her development—physical, intellectual, and emotional—has been stunted by neglect and malnourishment. The only interruption to her unending empty terror comes when someone rattles the door open and slides in some meager food. At these times, she cries out, “Please help me! I promise I’ll be good! Just let me out. I’ll be so good! Just help me!” But every time, the door slams closed and she is left in the dark. Continue reading

Healing Trauma, Decolonizing Memory

ElaineBy Elaine Enns (right), re-posted from Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology.

All four of my grandparents fled Ukraine and Russia in the 1920s, coming to Saskatchewan with some 22,000 other Mennonite immigrants.2 During the Russian Revolution and Civil War (1917–21), they and other German-speakers endured a continuous climate of violence, plundering, rape, and killing. As a child, I knew something unspeakable had happened to them. But my grandparents spoke only about the good times and the vast abundance and beauty of the land. In my senior year at a Mennonite high school in Saskatchewan, our drama teacher had us perform a reader’s theater rendition of Barbara Claassen Smucker’s novel Days of Terror. 3 Survivors of the Zerrissenheit (a German term loosely translated as “a time of being torn apart”) spoke with us about their experience. Seeds of a call to become a “remembearer” in my community were planted in me, which have grown for thirty years. Click here to keep reading.

What is Whiteness? A Provisional Articulation

Council on the WayBy Jim Perkinson

Note: this is a long working definition of Whiteness. Dr. Perkinson laid this down for a committee reflecting in the wake of The Council on the Way (right), an October 2019 gathering of white men envisioning and embodying a redemptive white male theology. The conversation over two days in Washington D.C. was conceived and coached by Ruby Sales, theologian and veteran of the Black Freedom Struggle.

What is whiteness? I would understand the paler shades of skin color that are typically referenced, when the term “whiteness” is used, as a kind of shorthand for a whole social system of infrastructure and expectation, as well as conscious/unconscious identification. It is a system that is rooted in European Christian colonialism taking land on this continent by force (either violent conquest or coercive legal imposition) from indigenous peoples and making much of that land yield “resources” by means of enslaved African peoples (as well as other coerced peoples of color, and to some degree even coerced lower and working class European heritage peoples). Continue reading

We Still Have a Race to Run

RubyFrom the front porch of Mother Ruby Sales. This is the sequel to yesterday’s clarion call to young people. This was originally posted to social media on February 2, 2020.

As remnants and elders we still
have a race to run and a role to play.
Heed the call.

Earlier this week I wrote a post to my younger friends reminding them of their responsibility as new generations of leaders. I reminded them that it is now up to them to use the fluency of their bodies and minds to push us beyond where previous generations took us. Now they are the ones under the light of historical scrutiny. I hope that they realize that the glare can both blind and clarify at the same time. Continue reading

The Ball is in Your Court

RubyA two-part post from the front porch of Mother Ruby Sales. This is part I, originally posted to social media on January 31, 2020.

My young friends you have often stated that my generation should pass the baton of leadership. Well the ball is in your court as the Republicans take this nation down further into an abyss that chokes democracy to death.

I am listening to the roll call in the Senate, and it is clear that Republicans believe that Trump is above the law & they think that they are above your rebuke. Continue reading

Even Deeper Than What We Can See Right Now

MLP

PC: Valerie Jean (Detroit, MI)

From Monica Lewis-Patrick (right), executive director of We The People of Detroit, leaders in the struggle for clean and affordable water in Detroit and beyond. 

We didn’t call ourselves into this fight. We tell folks that we didn’t choose water. Water chose us. In the divinity of water, water was before everything else was. We see ourselves as called into this great layer of warrior women that are fighting for water all around the globe, from Cochabamba to the Arab Spring, from Ireland to the Navajo Nation, from all over these Great Lakes where we have what I call “bad revolutionary sisters” who have decided that not only will they drink, but that their children’s children’s children will drink. Our vision is even deeper than what we can see right now. It’s a transformative way of thinking.